Complexity and Order

Roberts argues that Romantic criticism's constantly renewed interest in scientific models of explanation and analysis can be best understood in relationship to Romanticism's own conflicted relationship with the scientific Enlightenment project. He further argues that contemporary sciences of chaos and complexity can seem particularly congenial for the Romantic critic in their questioning of the possibility of a deterministic account of the natural world. After describing some of the contradictions inherent in Romantic understandings of chance and indeterminacy, Roberts argues for Isabelle Stengers's concept of "resistance" as a useful conceptual framework for providing some common ground between scientific and humanistic modes of inquiry.